The floors of the Las Vegas Convention Center are grey. Carpet grey, stretching endlessly on for millions of square feet. CES is a show which occupies three two-level convention halls, and half of a couple of hotels. It's sheer size is mind-boggling.
Imagine, if you will, trying to find a small booth in amongst various Far Eastern manufacturers, this area itself in a small sub-area of one of the floors of one of the large convention halls, and imagine, further, maps that have the accuracy of a globe drawn by a two year old.
This, then, was my experience of trying to find Cooler Master at the CES show. It was no fault of the company's, more one of bad map-drawing and illogical booth-numbering by the exhibition organisers. However, when I finally made it to the stand, I saw something rather cool - the Media 280 chassis.
Having arrived back in Blighty, Cooler Master sent one over to me to see if my initial interest at the show was warranted. Let's get the big picture in focus - this is a mid-tower case that also acts as a desktop / media centre case. However, that's not to say it's like any tower that can just be laid flat - this one has drive bays that rotate 90 degrees as well as two different sets of screw holes for the case feet.
So whilst some may find this case looks like their next tower enthusiast machine, others might say that it looks like the perfect DIY MCE rig. Can they both be right? Let's take a look.
We had the case in a very nice black finish. The body of the case is steel, whilst the fascia is brushed aluminium. When in a tower orientation, you can see that there is a fan grill on the right hand side of the case, which will take either a 120mm, 92mm or 80mm. On the top, there is some mesh that acts as an air vent. Looking at the rear of the case, you'll see that the motherboard is the 'wrong way' around, with the back of the motherboard mounted against the left side of the case. This is so that, in a desktop configuration, everything still works well from an airflow point of view. There is also a 120mm fan mount on the rear of the case.